Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

March 13, 2007

Ash Wednesday + 17

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 8:48 pm

Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do it commits a deadly sin.

Up to this point the discussion was about the nature of objective works of man, whether works in ourselves of even of works done "in Christ". No avenue of merit for ourselves, as much as it is in our nature to think otherwise, has been uncovered which will spare us from the fact that all our works are deadly sins.

Now let’s briefly take a look from the other end, the subjective end – our will that is involved in the doing of these works.

"Virtually all of western Christendom, from St. Augustine forward, agrees that without the aid of grace, the will is bound and can do nothing to merit salvation. But must we not, do we not, make our decision for Christ, when all is said and done? We confess that we are saved by grace alone. So, if we are captivated and overwhelmed by grace alone, can we claim to play a part in the matter? The specter of force [puppetry] raises its ugly head here. Some are always driven to claim at least some freedom of choice – bargaining for little bits. In one way or another, the claim is made that the will must have at least a small part to play."

Maybe that little bit is, by our will, to prepare ourselves to be able to receive that grace. Maybe our will must desire and prepare for grace. If we do what is in us, if we do our best by our own free will, do we not prepare ourselves to be able to receive that grace that God gives us?

The protest against divine election is always "We aren’t puppets, are we? If everything happens by divine will, how can we be held responsible? We just can’t accept such a God. There must be some freedom of choice."

This human rationalism at work. Our own reasoning sense is elevated. "Certainly my own reasoning powers can’t be doubted on this one. Nothing else makes sense to me." Here, ironically, we see how our will is crippled. Our will is unable to will God to be God. Scripture shows how our will is bound, though free.

For example, we are free to do things. Come and go. Pick out a shirt to wear. To get a haircut. We may even decide to be moral or religious. We may even decide that Jesus is a wonderful person or a stirring example. These are examples of our free will at work. But when it comes to the living God that is above us, we encounter a fundamentally different problem. That problem is that we can’t stand the idea of an electing God who is actually above us. This is something we can not or will not will. Because, not being subject to our will, we reject it. Thus, regarding that which is truly above us, the will is not free but bound. Not forced, we are not forced to say no – we are just bound to do it. We are truly fallen. We do not want the grace of God alone. It would be safer, we think, if we made the decision ourselves! 

John 8:34,36 "Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. . . . So, if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed."

Augustine adds, "Free will without grace has the power to do nothing but sin." And "You call the will free, but in fact it is an enslaved will."

Sin makes it impossible for the will really to be called free because sin means an enslavement, a bondage from which it is impossible for the will to escape. The self seeks its own self in all things, even in its piety. There is no way out.

Hosea 13:9 "Israel, you are bringing misfortune upon yourself,  for your salvation is alone with me."

Powered by Qumana



  1. I. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil.[1]

    1. James 1:13-14; 4:7; Deut. 30:19; Isa. 7:11-12; Matt. 17:12; John 5:40

    II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God;[2] but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.[3]

    2. Eccl. 7:29; Gen. 1:26, 31; Col. 3:10
    3. Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6, 17

    III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:[4] so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,[5] and dead in sin,[6] is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.[7]

    4. Rom. 5:5; 8:7-8; John 6:44, 65; 15:5
    5. Rom. 3:9-10, 12, 23
    6. Eph. 2:1, 5; Col 2:13
    7. John 3:3, 5-6; 6:44, 65; I Cor. 2:14; Titus 3:3-5

    IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin;[8] and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;[9] yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.[10]

    8. Col. 1:13; John 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:6-7
    9. Phil. 2:13; Rom. 6:14, 17-19, 22
    10. Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-25; I John 1:8, 10

    V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only.[11]

    11. Heb. 12:23; I John 3:2; Jude 1:24; Rev. 21:27

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — March 14, 2007 @ 12:51 am

  2. And of course, Rom 9:

    One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

    Comment by RubeRad — March 14, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  3. “Certainly my own reasoning powers can’t be doubted on this one. Nothing else makes sense to me.”

    but can’t the same be said for those arguing for predestination? Do you see the logic and “sense” of predestination? Is it your will that has enlightened you to this understanding? If not, how do you know?

    Predestination makes sense to me. So I guess the same complaint could be made of me (or any other calvinist for that matter) that is being made of those who reject it on the above basis.

    unfortunately this is a hit an run since I am gone for the weekend. sorry

    Comment by danielbalc — March 22, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  4. Are you leaving us in Lent?? No Easter joy and freedom?

    Comment by Barbara — April 10, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  5. No kidding!

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — April 11, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  6. Got tied up with my reading. Sorry. I will finish this.

    Comment by Bruce S. — April 14, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  7. Yeah, come ON with a new post already! Sheesh! Hehehehe…


    Comment by Echo_ohcE — April 17, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: